Soccer

Canadians rip USWNT's sportsmanship after 13 goals scored vs. Thailand

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USATSI

Canadians rip USWNT's sportsmanship after 13 goals scored vs. Thailand

So, what’s Canada’s deal right now?

First, some Raptors fans appeared to cheer Monday after Warriors star Kevin Durant dropped to the court with an Achilles injury during Game 5 of the NBA Finals. Then, video of other Raptors fans profanely jeering Steph Curry’s parents outside their Toronto hotel was released. Nevermind that Steph's father, Dell, is a former Raptor who had been beloved in the city.

And now this: Sharp rebukes from TSN’s Women’s World Cup studio coverage team Tuesday after Team USA routed Thailand 13-0 in its tournament opener.

The goal total was a tournament record, and the former Canadian players on the TSN panel had issues with the Americans running up the score — and celebrating in the process.

https://twitter.com/WoSo_Comps/status/1138573217927520261

Some highlights from our friends in the North:

“This was disgraceful coming from the United States.”

“It’s disrespectful, it’s disgraceful, and hats off to Thailand for holding their head high. ... I’d love to be there to just hug them all.”

“Embarrassed is the word for [US women's national team coach] Jill Ellis for how she led her team in this one.”

And, in light of Canadian fans’ treatment of KD and the Currys the previous day, this sentiment seemed particularly rich:

“As a Canadian, we would just never, ever think of doing something like that.”

Someone wasn't watching the Warriors-Raptors game the other night ...

Canadians’ angst toward the USWNT probably can be traced to the 2012 Olympics semifinal match between the teams. Two disputed calls led to a game-tying penalty kick by Abby Wambach, and Alex Morgan — the target of TSN’s venom Tuesday — drove home the winner in extra time.

Canada was denied gold. And wasn’t happy about it. Understandable.

Then, three years later, the USWNT won the Women’s World Cup on Canadian soil. That had to hurt.

If these past few days have taught us anything about our neighbors, it’s this: Canadians truly are friendly people — until sports are involved. Then all bets are off, and the trash talk is on.

So, they’re just like us.

Twitter reaction to the USWNT's scoring spree was mixed, with media members, former players and others giving their opinions on how the Americans handled themselves on the world stage against an obviously overmatched opponent.

Here’s the bottom line: The Americans are No. 1 in FIFA’s world rankings, 33 spots ahead of the Thais. This result should’ve been expected, even if the reaction to it was not.

USWNT’s next opponent, Chile, is ranked five spots lower than Thailand, so Sunday should bring another American victory. Judging by the reaction to the opener, though, that victory could only be on the pitch, not in the court of public opinion.

Premier League approves contact training as Project Restart hits Phase 2

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AP

Premier League approves contact training as Project Restart hits Phase 2

The Premier League took another step toward its restart Wednesday, as all 20 clubs voted unanimously to allow contact training as the league enters Phase 2 of Project Restart.

"Premier League shareholders today voted unanimously to resume contact training -- marking another step towards restarting the Premier League season, when safe to do so," the league said in a statement. "Squads are now able to train as a group and engage in tackling while minimising any unnecessary close contact."

"The Premier League's priority is the health and wellbeing of all participants. Strict medical protocols are in place to ensure the training ground is the safest environment possible and players and staff will continue to be tested for COVID-19 twice a week.

"Stage Two of the Return to Training protocol has been agreed following consultation with clubs, players, managers, the PFA (Professional Footballers' Association), the LMA (League Managers' Association) and the Government. Discussions are ongoing as work continues towards resuming the season when conditions allow."

The shareholders will meet again Thursday to discuss issues related to the restart, including a start date, television schedules and more, according to ESPN"s James Olley. Sources told ESPN that the June 12 return date now is viewed as too soon for players to build up their conditioning and that June 19 or June 26 is more likely.

The Premier League now has had 12 positive coronavirus (COVID-19) tests after the third round of testing, the league announced Wednesday.

All players and staff will be tested twice a week as the training continues, and the league will have discussions on contingency plans on what to do should issues arise.

[RELATED: What PL's positive coronavirus tests mean for season restart]

Some players have decided not to return to their clubs due to the risk of contracting the virus, including Chelsea midfielder N'Golo Kante.

The UK government is supportive of the effort for the Premier League to restart its season in a safe way following the guidance of public health officials. Play has been suspended since March 13.

What Premier League's latest coronavirus tests mean for season restart

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What Premier League's latest coronavirus tests mean for season restart

The Premier League reached a pair of milestones Tuesday in an effort to resume the season, but they aren't out of the woods yet.

Clubs began small-group training sessions Tuesday, with groups of no more than five players practicing together while following social-distancing guidelines aimed to limit the spread of the coronavirus. Six of the 748 players and club staff tested over the weekend tested positive for COVID-19, and the Premier League said those six (from three different clubs) will self-isolate for the next week. 

"[The] general consensus from what I can gather is that [the results are] actually about as positive news as you can get," NBC Sports' Premier League host Rebecca Lowe told Mike Tirico on "Lunch Talk Live" on Tuesday.

The Premier League's rate of initial positive tests (0.8 percent) is slightly higher than the Bundesliga and 2. Bundesliga's initial rate (0.5 percent) when Germany's top two divisions ramped up their efforts to restart their seasons earlier this month. Nearly 1,000 more players and club staff (across 36 teams) were tested in Germany compared to the 19 Premier League teams tested in England. Germany's protocol required two weeks of isolation for those who tested positive.

Another round of tests is set for this week, as each Premier League club will be tested twice a week as part of "Project Restart." The Premier League's initial June 12 target is more of "a staging post," CEO Richard Masters said last week. Restarting the season will require approval from the clubs, players, medical staff and the British government.

[RELATED: Man City's Champions League ban appeal set for next month]

Next week arguably is the Premier League's most critical. The Premier League must submit a proposal to restart the season to UEFA by next Monday. Clubs will determine next Tuesday whether or not teams can return to contact training, and they will vote a day later on whether or not they will resume the season. A minimum of 14 clubs must vote in favor of restarting in order for games to be played. 

Leicester City's 4-0 win over Aston Villa on March 9 was the Premier League's last match before the season was suspended due to the coronavirus. By the end of next week, we very well could know when the next one will be played.